Dominating the news at the end of last was Prime Minister Theresa May’s statement on the ongoing Brexit negotiations, following a meeting with European Union leaders in Salzburg, Austria.
Ahead of our leaving the EU next March, leaders had been hoping to agree a deal before the end of this year, in order to ratify it by the leaving date of 29 March.
However at the conclusion of the talks, the other EU leaders made it clear they were not interested in our proposals. In fact they were publicly rude and unprofessional about it, something which shocked many of us.
In my column earlier this month, I wrote that I had always been of the view that the EU would agree a deal, but as is usually their way it would be very late in the process. However I also laid out that I was not keen on what has become known as the Chequers Proposals as there were elements of it that I did not believe were delivering on the result of the referendum.
It is clear from their stance earlier in the week that at present the EU does not see the Chequers Proposals as a workable way forward.
Whilst I was pleased that it seems that an alternative to Chequers will now have to be found it was very disappointing that the EU offered no constructive way forward. We did however have a number of leaders of EU countries telling us that we should now have another referendum.
Therefore I was delighted that in her statement last week, the Prime Minister said that for EU leaders to reject her plan with no alternative at this "late stage of negotiations" was "not acceptable". She said talks had reached an "impasse" and could only be unblocked with "serious engagement" from the EU side.
In her statement, the Prime Minister also said the EU must treat the UK with more "respect" in Brexit negotiations and that a 2nd referendum was not an option.
In my view the EU have shown once again they just don't understand our British psyche. Our history shows that we do not take kindly to other people telling us what we as a nation should do. Their actions last week will strengthen our resolve, and I am pleased that the Prime Minister has taken a hard line on this and spoken out on behalf of this poor behaviour on such crucial negotiations. I hope the EU sits up and takes notice!
This was the PM at her best and showing the leadership we need from her at this time. Whilst I think it is a fair point that maybe she should have reached this point with the EU some time ago, it is good to see it now. We now need to see these words backed up with real action.
One other point that is quite clear to me is that those calling for a second referendum share a great deal of responsibility for where we are at present. By undermining our Prime Minister’s position and giving the EU hope of reversing the decision our nation made in the referendum, they have led them down a road they would otherwise not have gone. I genuinely do not believe we would be where we are today, with the EU playing hardball in the hope we will back down without their campaigning. In fact all the 2nd Referendum brigade appear to have achieved is make a no deal Brexit more likely.
Whilst I believe we should do all we can to agree a deal and no deal should be a last resort I was pleased to hear the PM confirm no deal remains a possible outcome.
The ball is now in the EU’s court and we await their constructive response. In the meantime you can rest assured I will be working to deliver the clean and positive Brexit that this constituency voted for.